BARCA VELHA RED
Producer Notes 2004
DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN: DOC Douro
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Portugal
WINEMAKER: Luís Sottomayor
VARIETIES: 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Cão
Barca Velha is the pinnacle of quality amongst Douro wines. Classic, intense, complex, elegant and rich, adjectives are inadequate to describe what is, since its creation in 1952, the most celebrated Portuguese wine. Barca Velha is only declared in exceptional years and is the basis on which Casa Ferreirinha has built its reputation. Since 1952, Barca Velha has only been made 17 times, including 2004.
Barca Velha 2004 has an intense ruby hue and a harmonious and complex bouquet, with a strong presence of well-ripened red fruits, floral hints of lavender and violet, and a fine spice component. Its palate is full-bodied, with lively balanced acidity, well-integrated tannins and layers of character to epitomise the best of the Douro. Its supreme quality is expressed through fresh red fruit flavours accompanied by spicy and balmy notes. It has a long and complex finish, with remarkable delicacy and structure.
2004 was a very warm and dry year. Even though there was little rain during the Winter and Spring, leading to a reduction in vine diseases, early September threatened a reversal of this situation because of the abnormally high rainfall in August. Fortunately the situation changed radically and the harvest was very warm and dry. It got under way in mid-September and lasted to the end of October, with heavy rain in its final stages which did not affect the quality of the most fragile grapes, which had already been picked.
The hand-picked grapes for Barca Velha were vinified by variety or in batches chosen at the vineyard and/or on arrival at the Quinta da Leda winery. After full de-stemming and soft crushing, alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and robot-operated presses. During this period, intense pumping-over and robot-operated pigeages were carried out at automatically controlled temperatures. A long skin maceration was carried out in order to obtain aromatic and polyphenolic extraction. Finally, and at the precise moment dictated by each grape variety/blend, the wine was stored and the must pressed. The wines resulting from pressing were separated from the pomace.
The wines were taken to V.N de Gaia immediately after the end of maceration and there, after the final fermentations, underwent maturation for about 16 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 75% of which were new and 25% used. The final blend was prepared from a continuous selection of the best wines, the result of the numerous tastings and analyses carried out during this period on the different blends and barrels. In order to preserve its supreme quality, Barca Velha 2004 was bottled with no prior treatment and it is therefore natural that it develops a deposit.
Although it is ready for drinking as soon as released to the market, Barca Velha 2004 has a long potential shelf-life and a positive evolution in the bottle. Its apogee? Perhaps 15-20 years after the vintage, but it should be "live" for an as yet undetermined period of time. The bottle should be kept horizontally in a dry and cool place, sheltered from light.
Place upright overnight and open 2 to 3 hours before serving. After so many years in the bottle the wine should be carefully decanted in order to separate its natural deposit. Serve between 16ºC-18ºC.
Enjoy leisurely, accompanying special meat or game dishes and even some refined and flavoursome cheeses.